Monday, November 29, 2010

Rustic Italian Dinner

A few weeks ago, to celebrate a special occasion, I decided to transport myself – along with my family -- to a breezy trattoria for a "Rustic Italian" dinner.  
photo borrowed from the web
While thinking up the dinner menu, I allowed my thoughts to wander to the sun-drenched seaside town of Positano along the Amalfi Coast.  It was a tactile experience for my mind.  I imagined myself slowly walking along its rugged terrain, thoroughly taking pleasure in its scenic beauty and picturesque towns.  I could  hear the Italian vendors in the marketplace sell their wares.  I catch a whiff of the robust scent of the dusky earth from the freshly-picked produce as I walk by baskets upon baskets of vegetable and fruits.  This is where my mind lingers till I have satisfied my senses - and completed the menu for dinner.

Here is the menu that I served for the night.  Wait for another post that will have the recipes on it.

Similar to the Chinese Lauriat Dinner, the Italians traditionally observe meals as a time to spend with family and friends instead of immediate sustenance; thus, daily meals usually consist of 4-5 courses and are longer than other cultures.  
(Italian Meal Structure taken from Wikipedia)
 1. Antipasto:
Antipasto  means "before the meal" and is the starter course of an  Italian meal. Traditional antipasto includes cured meats, olives, roasted garlic, pepperoncini, mushrooms, anchovies, artichoke hearts, and various cheeses (such as provolone or mozzarella). 

2.  Primo Piatto.
The primo is the first course. It is hot food and heavier than the antipasto, but lighter than the second course. It usually consists of non-meat or fish like foods. Examples of things which would be eaten at a primo could be risotto, pasta and spaghetti, soup and broth, gnocchi, polenta, crepes, casseroles, lasagnas.

3.  Secondo Piatto.
The secondo is the heartiest and main course of an Italian meal, sometimes called the piatto principale or the main course/meal. It is made up usually of poultry, meats and fishes.

4.  Contorno
All along the meal, there is the contorno, which are the side plates.  This, usually, are simply prepared vegetables, cheeses or cold meats to accompany the secondo.

5.  Dolce. 

Buon compleanno!  Cent'Anni!  
Happy Birthday!  To One Hundred Years!

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